Thursday, 11 September 2008

Focus On: The Ghosts Of Blue Bell Hill

Being a Man of Kent, the story of the ghosts of Blue Bell Hill is one I've heard many times over. I remember as a child hearing the story mixed up with a well know urban legend at one of our many playground ghost story swapping sessions.

The ghost of Blue Bell Hill is quite a famous case of a ghost haunting a particular stretch of road. The ghost appears to be a woman who runs out in front of cars traveling along that road and they "hit" her. Open further investigation nothing is found to suggest any sort of accident. You can read a very well researched and balanced piece on the incidents at this site.

Now in the local folklore surrounding the incidents a car crash that killed 3 women (one due to be married the next day) in 1965 is "blamed" for the ghostly happenings. But what is particularly interesting is that reports of the activity here predate 1965 leading us to assume that, whether real or fake, an earlier incident fuels the stories or encounters surrounding this area. This is something I certainly didn't realise until I read that article.

I think that the possible psychological causes of these incidents, and those around the world that bear uncanny resemblance to them, is fascinating. I'll quote from that article:

One idea is that even the unconscious recognition that somewhere could be haunted could act as the trigger for an hallucinatory experience of a quality that simulates and complements reality. Personally, I don’t think it’s as simple as that; I think there must be some other trigger at work, perhaps something genuinely objective. Else, how would persons with no knowledge of the locale fall for exactly the same experience? But there is no doubt in my mind that this unconscious state is an important factor in the experience, and most other apparitional experiences. This mechanism may also in part account for why it is that we have a preponderance of lone male drivers and female ‘ghosts’. Carl Gustav Jung, the noted psychologist, noted that the unconscious of the individual presents itself in the dreamscape as a figure of the opposing gender. This he termed anima if the subject is male, and is represented by an archetypal female form. For a woman, her unconscious presents itself as a male figure, the animus. Surely it is significant that those most susceptible to ‘highway hypnosis’ - the lone drivers, are the ones having most of the experiences - in folklore and ‘fact’? While clearly increasing horrific effect, could the common feature of the phantom locking eyes with the driver - a literally haunting effect - represent the unconscious of the individual recognizing itself, or at least its function in these experiences?
Is the girl on Blue Bell Hill really a ghost of a deceased girl from some long forgotten incident? Or is she a reflection of the inner most thoughts and feelings of male drivers on the edge of sleep as they drive through the middle of the night? That is something that requires further investigation.

Further Reading

One Dog and Her Man: Life of Police Dog Bess - Ted Wright. A police dog's eye view of one of the incidents.

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